Tuesday, October 03, 2006

End of a Generation

I was on my way to Mega Mall to look for a wire for the company's scanner when my sister called me up. It was short and brief.

"Alam mo na?" ("Have you heard the news?")

"...na?" ("What?")

"Namatay na si angkong" ("Grandfather has died.")

My grandfather on my mother's side, who was strapped to his bed the last time I saw him, with a dextrose inserted into one of his arms, was the last of my grandparents. His wife died a few years ago, a secret that the family kept from him. My grandparents on my father side died earlier. In fact, I was also at Pulp Magazine when I heard my grandfather died in the summer of 2001.

Much like of my grandparents, I never really talked to my grandfather, mostly because of the language barrier. There were attempts at bonding. I once helped him catalogue his stamp collection, but that mostly involved him giving me envelopes with stamps on them and left me alone to sort them out.

He was also very wealthy, perhaps my wealthiest relative. I wouldn't say my father married my mom for her money, but I doubt if it was for love either. I'd say it was somewhere in between, more like the traditional Chinese marriages of old. The real reason why my last name is Tan (my mother's family name) instead of Yu (my father's family name) is because of the influence my grandfather wielded, or so my father felt at the time.

Of course to me, he was a stranger. I greeted him every week and gave him the required kisses and greetings for the past twenty plus years, but that's not really enough to know a person. I have five grandparents and when three of them died (the other one died before I was born), I didn't really experience grief. It's the same feelings now.

4 comments:

Kara said...

my lola and lolo (fathers side) died while i was still young so i never really got to know them. i have very few memories of my lolo, which is pretty sad because all of my older relatives say that he was really a great person. one who was accomplished and worked hard but never forgot to be fun and prioritized his family. wala lang. i wish i could have know them better :) i dont remember feeling sad after they passed away, but after realizing it was really my loss, i cant help but regret not being closer to them. :(

Sasa said...

that's sad indeed... my condolences to you and your family. I didnt really get to meet all but one of my grandparents.. i cant say that im really close with any of my cousins either, since unlike the typical filipino family, ours doesnt have regular reunions or get-togethers during christmas, etc. i usually spend my birthday with my friends. its pretty sad, really.

osmalic said...

Condolences to you and your family. Generation gap is something everyone deals with, but it doesn't hurt any less. I'm glad, at least, you're not wondering about "what ifs". Let us know if you need anything?

Noelle De Guzman said...

I just realized both our grandfathers died within this week. :(